Bitcoin Hero and CFTC Chair Giancarlo Expects 'Explosive' Spike in Crypto Interest

By CCN.com: J. Christopher Giancarlo, the retiring chairman of the CFTC, expects a massive spike in interest in cryptocurrencies with the launch of bitcoin futures products.

Giancarlo made the remarks in a May 1 speech before a Congressional committee. During his testimony, he recounted the highlights of his tenure at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and its response to today's increasingly digital and algorithmic financial markets.

Giancarlo says the CFTC expects to see a barrage of new applications for clearinghouse registrations resulting from what he believes will be an "explosion of interest in cryptocurrencies."

Giancarlo: CFTC must keep up with tech advances

In his May 1 testimony, Giancarlo said the CFTC has tried to keep up with the rapidly-evolving developments in today's high-speed tech environment.

However, he lamented that the meteoric pace of the ever-evolving technology is overwhelming regulators. Accordingly, Giancarlo says the CFTC must respond by:

  • Adopting an "exponential growth mindset" that anticipates the rapid pace of technological innovation and the need for appropriate regulatory response.
  • Embracing "market-based solutions" to determine the value of technological innovations, as we witnessed with the launch of crypto-asset-based futures products."

CFTC vows to hunt down scam artists

So basically, Giancarlo is suggesting that bitcoin and blockchain aren't going away anytime soon, so federal regulators must keep apprised of developments within the industry and respond accordingly.

To this end, Giancarlo touted the establishment of LabCFTC, the agency's fintech research group. LabCFTC's mission is to explain tech innovation to CFTC staff and other federal regulators and advocate for technology adoption.

Since its launch two years ago, Giancarlo says the New York-based LabCFTC has had over 250 separate interactions with tech innovators from Silicon Valley to London to Singapore.

Giancarlo also remarked on the CFTC's ongoing enforcement actions against bitcoin scam artists. Giancarlo says the CFTC will continue to aggressively hunt down criminals who cheat consumers and try to manipulate the financial markets.

"I pledged there would be no pause, let-up, or reduction in our enforcement of the law and punishment of wrongdoing."

'Do-no-harm' regulatory approach

Despite his tough talk, Christopher Giancarlo has said that federal agencies should approach regulating cryptocurrencies in the same manner it regulated the Internet: By adopting a “do-no-harm” approach.

He explained that when the Internet first launched, it flourished because the government did not strangle it with overly burdensome regulations that would have choked off innovation.

In September 2018, Giancarlo urged federal regulators to adopt a similar approach to the budding crypto market, as CCN reported.

“I’m advocating the same approach to cryptocurrencies and all things having to do with this new digital revolution of markets, and of currencies, and of asset classes."

“When it comes to fraud and manipulation, we need to be strong. When it comes to policy-making, we need to be slow and deliberate and well informed.”

'Crypto dad' is retiring

To the disappointment of many crypto fans, Giancarlo is retiring in July 2019. His term expired in April, but he's staying on until President Donald Trump's nominee, Heath Tarbert, is confirmed.

Giancarlo, a Republican, was appointed by Barack Obama in 2014, for a term set to end in April 2019. He was then re-appointed CFTC chair by Donald Trump in 2017. Giancarlo, 60, will retire in April, as he had initially intended.

In February 2018, Giancarlo became the darling of the crypto community when he noted that bitcoin has caught the interest of today’s youth, especially his own children.

"We owe it to this new generation to respect their enthusiasm about virtual currencies with a thoughtful and balanced response, not a dismissive one."

Giancarlo showered with crypto love

Two months later -- in April 2018 -- Giancarlo joked that immediately after he made those remarks, he became an unwitting hero of the crypto community.

"My Twitter account exploded, gaining thousands of followers in minutes and over 40,000 in the next few days."

"My remarks were celebrated by virtual currency fans around the globe, who devised clever memes like "CryptoDad" and "FUDBuster" and photo shopped my likeness into dozens of online images and videos."

Here's a sampling of the crypto love directed at Giancarlo:

https://twitter.com/ChaosSatoshin/status/960926405935665152

Giancarlo has since embraced his nickname.

https://twitter.com/giancarloCFTC/status/1103455389947961345

This article is protected by copyright laws and is owned by CCN Markets.

About the author

Samantha Chang
Samantha Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at CCN. She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at Samantha_Chang.

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